What YOU Can Do For Our Newsletter

PNA Village Connections newslettersAre you interested in writing, editing, desktop publishing, or even seeing your writing featured on our blog? If so, we’d love to hear from you!

You can help your PNA Village Connections newsletter in any of the following ways:

  • Join us! The newsletter committee meets just four times per year for a planning session. You choose what you’d like to write and/or what tasks you can do. (You’ll need access to a reliable computer and the Internet, as this is the committee’s primary mode of communication.)
  • Suggest ideas or information you’d like to see covered in our newsletter and/or blog.
  • Write! We’re always looking for new topics to cover.
  • Take photos! Take photos of Village events and activities.
  • Help us mail the newsletter. We always can use help folding and preparing the newsletter for mailing.
  • Provide technical help. Two of our prime needs right now are for a person comfortable doing page layout for the printed version of the newsletter (using InDesign, Publisher or Word) as well as a person comfortable preparing the newsletter for email distribution using Vertical Response.

If any of these things sound interesting to you, please contact the Village office at 206-789-1217.

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Spread the Word!


By Alex Gramps

Do you have time in the next few days to help spread the word about the Village’s upcoming Info Session & Volunteer Training on March 5th?

How you can help:

1) Put up posters! Let me know when you can put posters up and I’ll arrange for them to be ready for you at the Greenwood Senior Center or at the Phinney Center.

2) Tell your friends who might be interested in volunteering at the Village!

3) Share the event on Facebook or other social media.

Event details are below:

Volunteering for the PNA Village:
General 1-hr. Info Session about the Village followed by optional Volunteer Training
March 5th, 2pm-5pm
Ballard Senior Center, 5429 32nd Ave NW

• Want to stay in your community as you age?
• Interested in helping seniors in your community age their way?
• Looking for a volunteer opportunity that can flex to fit your schedule?

Join the fast-growing national movement of neighbors helping neighbors! The Phinney Neighborhood Association’s PNA Village is expanding into the portion of Ballard west of 15th Ave NW and the team is seeking volunteers. Join us to learn more about what the Village is, how it works, and how you can be a part of it! We will start with a general information session and Q&A for anyone interested in joining as a member or volunteer, and end with a full Volunteer training so volunteers can get started right away! Please RSVP by calling (206) 789-1217 or emailing village@phinneycenter.org

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you’d like some posters to put up!

PNA Swoosh

Interview with New President of the Board, Terry Cook

By Liz Bjorkman


Our current President of the PNA Village Board is Terry Cook; following is an interview with her.

How did you become interested in PNA Village?

I read several articles about Villages and thought Villages were a great alternative to a formal retirement home. It appeals to me because it allows me to live in my own home and community very much like my grandmothers and father did. I like the idea of expanding my relationships beyond the people on my block. I called Lee Harper and asked if the PNA had considered doing something like this, and she said “funny you should ask” and gave me Ed Medeiros’s number. I went to the next meeting and signed on to help create the PNA Village.

How did you become President of the Board?

The truth? I missed the meeting where they nominated people so I was it. I am more comfortable working behind the scenes so this was a big challenge for me. However, I am enjoying being president as this is an exciting time as the Village looks to expand membership and move into new services. We have great members and volunteers that make this a wonderful organization to belong to and work with as we move forward. The Village is their creation.

Have you served PNA Village in other capacities?

I started with the steering committee early on as well as working with the Business Vendor committee until I became president. Currently I am a volunteer and volunteer driver, and I sit on the finance committee.  

What is the future for the PNA Village Board?

We are looking to expand our board membership to include people in the Seattle area who work in areas related to seniors. The next three years will be challenging and exciting, and we need people who share our commitment to aging in the community. We have been very fortunate in our board members to date, and I am grateful for their enthusiasm and energy.

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PNA Village Needs YOU!

Please consider contributing to our Connections blog and newsletter by submitting your writing, photos, or ideas for publication. We’d love to hear from you!

Here are some general guidelines for submission:


PNA Village Connections blog publishes a variety of posts on aging in place and staying active, healthy and engaged in our community. Our readership includes members and volunteers of all ages.

General categories include:

Word Count

Posts vary from 100 word (or less) announcements to 1000 word (or more) book reviews and articles. Most posts fall in the 250-500 word range. We also publish quick links to articles and event notices published elsewhere that will be of interest to our readership.


  • Posts with original photos get the most traffic on the blog—your photos are very welcome submissions!
  • Posts that feature animal companions and/or wildlife are very popular
  • Less is more—our most-read posts fall in the 250-500 word range
  • Posts on the PNA Village Connections blog are cross-posted to our Facebook and Google+ pages


Please send queries to: pnavillageblog@gmail.com and be sure to include your contact information (name, email, telephone number) and any applicable links to your material.

Submissions may be kept on file for consideration for several months. PNA Village Connections blog retains the right to edit all submissions.

Thanks for contributing your voice to our Village!

PNA Swoosh

When Planning for Retirement, Consider Transportation

[ Sam Hodgson for The New York Times ]

Roland and Rosemarie Dion live on the eastern edge of San Diego, and have begun planning for a carless future. They have considered moving, but have not yet made any concrete decisions. (Photo: Sam Hodgson for The New York Times)

By Harriet Edleson
The New York Times—October 20, 2014

For Roland Dion, 81, who lives on the eastern edge of San Diego, being isolated in a place where the car rules is all too real a possibility.

“Out here, it’s cars,” Mr. Dion said. “Cars, cars, cars, cars.” Doctor appointments, grocery shopping, movie theaters, even reaching the beach from where the Dions live all require a car. “If you don’t have a car, you’re stranded,” said Mr. Dion, a retired marriage and family therapist. He and his wife, a master weaver, moved to California 38 years ago from Connecticut.

While he still drives 16 miles — on three freeways — to writers group meetings, he has decided the time has come to plan for a carless future.

Click here for full article

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Running the Village

PNA Village Summer BBQ 2014 | ©2014 HouseofHank.meBy Kelly Maddox

It takes…well, a village. As many PNA Village members know, we have a fantastic resource in our volunteers who help members go to doctors’ appointments, events, or shopping. They also fix computers, make small home repairs, and provide garden help.

But who runs the Village operations? Who thinks about how the Village can work, and who makes decisions to make it successful? Who creates brochures? Who organizes events and socials? Who helps find volunteers to meet members’ requests? Who finds all the vetted vendors? Who manages our finances and fundraising? The answer to all these questions is volunteers! While we are fortunate to have a tremendous staff, Janice Dilworth, our Director, and Amanda Walker, our AmeriCorps Volunteer, they are only human and they must sleep at some point.

PNA Village members donate their time and expertise on committees to make sure our Village is successful. The committees meet regularly to discuss their specific focus areas and to plan for upcoming work.

The PNA Village Advisory Board members are part of the committees listed below. This board ensures all our organizational areas are successful now and in the future. The Board currently has a sub-committee that is creating a plan for the next three years.

The Membership & Marketing Committee shares our story with the community to attract new members and community partners by creating brochures, posters, events, and social media stories (Be sure to “like” the PNA Village on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PNAVillage).

PNA Village on Facebook screenshot

The Social Committee creates events such as game night, quarterly potlucks, and the book group at Couth Buzzard to keep our members connected.

The MSST volunteers are the office people you speak to when you call to request a volunteer. They also reach out to makes sure our members’ needs are being met.

The Business Referral Committee finds vendors who are a good fit for work that volunteers cannot do (say, rewiring a house or taking down a tree). They have created a process to find the types of services most requested, and they work with businesses to make sure they can safely and securely meet our members’ needs.

The Finance Committee manages our budget, works with partners and sponsors to support our community, and spearheads fundraising efforts that keep our Village financially viable.

The Volunteer Committee recruits and trains the volunteers that are the lifeblood of the member services the Village provides. They also organize volunteering events, like the spring and fall weeding, as well as deliver ongoing training to help our volunteers understand and meet our members’ needs.

facebookthumbThe Communications Committee shares articles written by and relevant to members through our blog, newsletter and Facebook (did I mention “liking” the Village on Facebook?!).

It really does take a village, and we are fortunate to have a vital community that shares their time, energy, and expertise. The committees always need help, so please call 206.789.1217 or email amandaw@phinneycenter.org if you want to join a committee and get in on the fun!

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Volunteer Feature: Alison Van Dusen

By Carol Crickman

AlisonVanDusen in Carol Crickman's yard

Alison Van Dusen was a PNA volunteer while she was here for the summer between jobs. She most recently was a park ranger in Alaska.

The first time Alison came over to help me with yard work was on her 52nd birthday which I thought showed what a thoughtful caring person she is. She also came on her collapsible bike, her only means of transportation while she was in Seattle. I feel like I’ve made a new friend. Although I didn’t have any cupcakes or candles, I took a muffin out to her and sang “Happy Birthday” to her. We had lunch later.

When she came a second and last time, I learned that she had plans to hike in Montana, go river rafting on the Colorado River for 18 days, and then, in November go to Haiti until March to help some children in an orphanage there.

Recently, I was delighted to receive a postcard from her saying the rafting trip was going great. I only hope she was not there during the terrible floods.

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Word of Mouth Is Our Best Advertising

Caffe Fiore Children's Masks | ©2013 HouseofHank.me

By Ed Medeiros

As we move into our second year of operation, we are fortunate to have 72 members—moving toward 100—in the PNA Village. In order to make this a sustainable program we need to just about triple our membership.

We have tried a number of marketing techniques, however, our best sales persons are satisfied members. Please talk to your friends and neighbors about the program, what it has meant to you and let them know how easy it is to participate in the village. If you know of someone in your community who could possibly use the PNA Village, let us know who they are and we will contact them.

If you are a village volunteer, don’t forget to tell your friends what a great experience it has been to volunteer for the PNA Village. Tell them how you feel meeting a new neighbor and helping them in small ways that make a huge difference in their quality of life. Let them know how easy it is to become a PNA Village Volunteer.

Share the experience and encourage your friends to join, as a member, as volunteers or both. To learn more about volunteering for the PNA Village, contact village@phinneycenter.org or 206.789.1217 or go to www.phinneycenter.org/village/volunteer.shtml.

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The Room a Village Built

Help arrives! Where are we going to put stuff?

Help arrives!

By Marguerite Langlois


That, I said in an email to Katie, the Americorps volunteer for our PNA Village, is about the best way to describe what happened in my house on Friday, March 8.

I had what seemed an overwhelming task: empty my home office space so the room could be re-done. It was definitely not something I could do alone, but I knew from experience what to do: call the Village! Village volunteers Dennis, Mary, and Deb arrived right at the scheduled time. I explained the project, and the things we could leave if they were too difficult to move.

And then they organized what had to be done, went to work, and in just a little over an hour my home office was empty! Dennis had brought a hand truck, so he even moved my files. They had to find room for everything in my living-dining room…and somehow they did. They even got my computer disconnected and unplugged, moved it to my dining table, and got it all reconnected and plugged in again. My printer too.

Help arrives

We actually felt like it was a party! Carol arrived near the end to see how things were going, brought brownies, and later dropped off donations to Goodwill. A big messy chore turned into a lot of fun, and was so well done. And when I thanked them all, they also thanked me.

Then it was time for phase two: having the contractors come in.

Before: dark, cramped, wall needs repair after new electric panel

BEFORE: dark, cramped, wall needs repair after new electric panel

When I started planning the project, I also asked the Village for a referral for a contractor. I was referred to August at Crescent Builds. A couple of meetings with him and his wife Emilee, who helps with decorating, convinced me that I wanted them to do the work. All my questions were clearly answered, they provided detailed information right from the start, and were very considerate of what my physical needs would be during the project.

So after the room was emptied, they began. Because I have to be careful about breathing dust, they sealed off the room. They vacuumed daily, and they kept my heating filters clean. I was impressed with everything they did, especially with the high quality of their work, and their attentiveness to me and my needs during the project. Over the three weeks they were here, I got to know a number of August’s group: Emilee, Ned, Brendan, Adam, Richard, Noel. They are really “Village people”…it’s clear that care and community are a value in all they do.

Contractor work begins

Contractor work begins

Emilee helped with color, carpet, and lighting choices, and I enjoyed her creativity and expertise with the process. I didn’t have to go out to shop: either she came here, or sent me things by email. Then as the work got going, Richard became the project manager, gave me his cell phone number, and told me to call anytime. One by one, people showed up, and got things done. Every bit of painting, carpeting, building, every last screw, each aspect of trim, things done twice if needed (I live in one of those old Ballard houses…there were surprises!)—all of it demonstrated their insistence on doing things well. They were on time, or they called. And they paid a lot of attention to my comfort and well-being, every day: doing various aspects of the project at a different time if needed, being sure absolutely nothing from the project got left in other areas of the house, asking if I needed anything. They had to move one of my smoke detectors—and then they changed the batteries too!

Done: Light, color, space!

DONE! Light, color, space!

As everyone knows who has done it, remodeling is not necessarily a pleasant task, especially when major living areas are disrupted. But along with that, this whole project became a happy experience for me, and a memorable one. NW Spotless Cleaning (another Village referral) did an amazing job both at the beginning and end of the project.

I now work, communicate, and read every day in what is truly a room the Village built!

This is an amazing community we have. I’ve both benefited from it and have been happy I could contribute, too. Recently we celebrated the Village’s first anniversary—with a party attended by about 100 people. PNA, the larger community of which we are a part, recently celebrated its 30th year. I hope to be at the party when the Village celebrates that anniversary too! (Hmm….I’d be 100! Well, why not. I’d like being a Village centenarian!)

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Walking the Talk

Duncan at Green LakeHello, my name is Duncan King. I’m an Eighth Grader at Bright Water School. In Eighth Grade each student does a community service project consisting of volunteering, multiple essays, and a speech. I’ve always had an affinity for the elderly, from my grandparents to family friends. Naturally, I decided to work with senior citizens for my community service project.

Now, I’m not particularly skilled at anything of great use, like carpentry or gardening. It seemed that the only things I could do well were talking and walking. And, as luck would have it, those two basic skills could be put to work.

As it turns out, loneliness is a serious problem for many seniors. However, there are many ways to prevent it. For example, I walk around Green Lake with a senior and another volunteer every Sunday. As we walk we discuss a broad range of topics, from politics to birding. Hearing opinions from three different generations is fascinating, and I truly enjoy the time I spend volunteering.

I know that it’s difficult for a lot of people my age to find something they feel passionate about, and even harder to find a place where they can volunteer. I’m happy to say I’ve found both, and I plan on continuing to volunteer with this program for a long time.

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